Sassari– August 14th, 2012 – The 2nd largest festival in Sardinia owes its name to the large ‘candlesticks’ which men parade though-out town for a six-hour parade of strength, endurance, song and dance.
I Candelieri was born around 1500, a vow to the Virgin Mary; and to give thanks to the survival of three plagues during the 1600’s, which killed thousands of people on the island of Sardinia.
I Candelieri – The Descent of the Candle Bearers is a festival which embodies the spirit and traditions of Sassari. Its origins date back to the Middle Ages, when Sassari, under Pisan domination, adopted a modified version of the Pisan tradition of an offering, similar to a large wooden wax-covered altarpiece to the Madonna on the eve of the Assumption.
10 candlesticks with 8 men per candle parade throughout the town to the beat of drums, clapping and chanting in local dialect. The last stop, at midnight, is St. Rosario’s Church where every Candelieri receives a midnight blessing from the church.
This is not even all of them, I have about 15 collecting dust in my dresser drawer.
I have a fascination with flags. This is not because I am Canadian and wear my flag with pride on my backpack, hat, t-shirt, underwear and socks but I find them truly and utterly beautiful. They flap effortlessly in the wind and they represent their country with amazing pride.
When I first moved to Sardinia 4.5 years ago and noticed the flag of Sardinia floating angelic like against the blue sky, I was shocked. Why shocked? Well, because of the four heads blindfolded. I silently pondered the meaning behind this odd flag and vowed to find out more.
I asked my husband what the flag represents and he told me some fable about four Africans taken into the mountains and shot. This can’t be true. I allowed my Italian language skills to improve over the years and asked the same questions to the same people, no one seemed to know what the flag stands for. I can understand the confusion of the locals as the flag over the years has changed without notice and without explanation adding only increased mystery and confusion.
Over the centuries the 4 Moors have changed at times they are looking left, other times right, sometimes blindfolded other times wearing headbands, eyes open, eyes closed, bareheaded and sometimes with a crown.
I was perplexed and curious. I would get to the bottom of this mystery.
Sardinia is a smorgasbord of colourful annual festivals that are held high in the mountains or close to the sea. Sardinia will not disappoint those looking for tradition, culture, energy and fantastic feasts.
Sardinia is yours to discover, on your own time and by your own two feet. Just try it and you will see.
Follow me on my voyage to discover and share Sardinia’s most imporant festivals.
This past weekend I was invited to an ancient Sardinian wedding tradition held high up in the hills of Fiminaltu. Actorsrecreate one of the oldest wedding traditions to date with ox-drawn carts and a 90-minute procession down the windy mountainous roads to St. Antonio di Li Colti.
Roughly 5 million tons of horse meat is consumed yearly by these 8 countries.
In December 2011 American president Obama lifted a five-year ban on horse slaughter. Bringing a once taboo food to the tables of Americans. 70% of Americans oppose horse slaughter, will this lift bring nourishment and good proteins to many starving Americans? Only time will tell.
Three and a half years ago I went on my first asparagus hunting excursion, it was painful. I came home with squinty eyes and a headache and vowed never to do it again.
The first few years was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I actually detested going out, but that waned with each new dish prepared. Now, I am a pro. Yes, a pro-asparagus hunter and I love each moment.
Follow me on a voyage to hunt for one of Sardinia’s wild vegetables.
“Sardinia is another thing. Much wider, much more ordinary, not up-and-down at all, but running away into the distance. Unremarkable ridges of moor-like hills running away, perhaps to a bunch of dramatic peaks on the southwest. This gives a sense of space … lovely space about one, and traveling distances-nothing finished, nothing final. It is like liberty itself … ” D.H. Lawrence. Sea and Sardinia. 1921.
November 2nd is All Souls Day in Italy. A day where families commemorate the faithful departed. Relatives clean up the graves, bring fresh new flowers and pray that their loved ones souls reach heaven.
The Nuragic Civilization developed during the middle of the Bronze Age (15th-18th centuries BC.) The word nuraghe is perhaps related to the Sardinian word ‘nurra‘ meaning heap of stones. There have been no written testimonies of this civilization and most findings have been scientific theories. Only a handful of the 7000 remaining nuraghe have been excavated, leaving an entire nation still in wonder. Continue reading →